Phil Spencer says that Microsoft isn't quite done buying game studios.
“I'm really proud of some of the creators that have chosen to become part of Xbox,” Spencer said during the Wall Street Journal Tech Live event, which has been transcribed by VGC. He went on to explain how many of Xbox's acquisitions have been studios it already has “long-term relationships with.”
“We offer some financial stability for them,” Spencer continued. “It's not about only the success of their next game. I want to give them some more creative capability, longer timelines when required to do their best work.”
Spencer then re-iterated that Xbox Game Studios isn't opposed to bringing more studios on board if they're a good fit.
“We're always out there looking for people who we think would be a good match and teams that would be a good match with our strategy,” he said. “So we're definitely not done.
“There's no quota. There's no kind of timeline where I have to go acquire studios by a certain time, but if we find a studio where we have a good fit, we share what we're trying to go do and what they're trying to go do, and if we feel we can both get better together, absolutely.”
I had a great time talking with @saraheneedleman for @WSJ Tech Live about where our amazing industry is today and the opportunities out in front of us. Thanks for hosting, Sarah! https://t.co/adXF4k6eULOctober 18, 2021
Xbox Game Studios currently houses a whopping 23 studios. Last year's ZeniMax Media acquisition bolstered its numbers significantly, with Microsoft scooping up the likes of Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, and Arkane. Microsoft claims that it will retain each studio's individuality, which Spencer echoed during Tech Live:
“There's amazing teams out there and I want to be listening to those creators and getting the signal from them on what are they seeing, what are they trying to create and then challenging ourselves as a platform—can we build the best platform for them—so that they feel like they can do their absolute best work?
“And that's an ongoing journey, right? It's not a destination, it's a journey. We'll be on that journey for years, but having them be the best version of themselves. And not somehow, you know, all getting the kind of Xbox stamp. If they don't want to, it's fine—keeping them independent is great.”
One recent release from a Microsoft-owned studio is Psychonauts 2 from Double Fine. Based on our 89% review and other praise for the game, it'd be hard to say that Microsoft's acquisition of the studio and the subsequent delays were for the worse. Deathloop from Arkane was also received positively, although it was pretty far into production when Microsoft's acquisition of Zenimax was finalized earlier this year
Next year, Bethesda Game Studios will release Starfield, its first big new singleplayer RPG since Fallout 4. Another major recent Microsoft acquisition, Obsidian, is working on a big Skyrim-like RPG called Avowed, which we recently learned a few small details about.